Reflections

Batman

Last Thursday, a most unusual, but supremely appropriate tribute was paid to an actor who played one of the most popular television super heroes ever.  Adam West, best known for his campy portrayal of Batman in the 1960s TV series, passed away at the age of 88 following a battle with leukemia.

In true Batman fashion, LA city officials honored the role and West’s life by shining the Bat-signal onto city hall. In the TV show, the Bat-signal was one method used by the police to summon the superhero for help.

Millions of fans recall millionaire Bruce Wayne and his ward Dick Grayson who led a secret double life: they were the crime-fighting team of Batman and Robin, who battled villains which included the likes of The Joker, The Riddler, The Penguin and The Cat Woman.  After receiving a call for help from Gotham City’s Commissioner Gordon on the Batphone, the Dynamic Duo would slide down the secret Batpole at their mansion which led to the Batcave, a high-tech command center. Then, they would race to the scene of the crime in the powerful Batmobile, perhaps the most famous vehicle in television history.

The legendary Batmobile was created by famed car designer George Barris, whose list of automobile credits read like a Greatest TV Hits list:  Starsky and Hutch, The Munsters, Knight Rider, Dukes of Hazard and many more. Barris successfully captured the American love affair with automobiles with innovative designs, customized for each television or movie production he worked on.

Barris also inspired the collection of classic funeral coaches now available at Forest Lawn. It was at a Barris Car Show in Cathedral City where a Silver Spirit funeral coach sparked the idea of connecting Forest Lawn with Baby Boomers and their love of nostalgia.

Today, Forest Lawn offers families the opportunity to honor their loved ones with a dignified ride in some of the world’s most beautiful and special funeral coaches. There is currently one classic coach to choose from at Glendale: 1950 Meteor-Cadillac “Statesman;” Hollywood Hills: 1959 Cadillac “Park Row;” Cypress: 1967 Cadillac “Victoria;”and Covina Hills: 1963 Cadillac “Crown Royale.” Each has been meticulously renovated to their original glory.

One classic coach, a 1965 Cadillac Silver Spirit is exclusively a show car for display at local car show. It was used only once in a funeral service—fittingly for the Batmobile’s creator, George Barris.

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